starlight— asked a question:
What is your book “Mad About God” about?
Hey dear friend, thank you so much for asking. The book is about persevering through suffering, without glossy pep-talks and spiritualizing our hurt. The main premise is that both the church and pop culture usually offer platitudes and feel-good-isms about pain, when the reality of heartache is extremely gritty and staggering. I don’t believe every pain has a lesson; I believe life will hurt, and it’s okay to say it stinks. I talk about various ways we’ve over-romanticized pain, including statements like “Everything happens for a reason” and “God is using cancer to teach you a lesson.” I try not to resolve the tension too easily; there are no simple answers for suffering.
It’s probably my most personal and favorite book I’ve written. I talk about surviving suicide, my battle with depression, my friend’s battle with a rare terminal illness, losing my friend to murder, my bed-ridden cousin, my married friends dealing with a disabled child, and a ton of other real stories. I also go over Jeremiah 29:11, David & Goliath, Job, struggling versus selfishness, and facing injustice in the world. Please know, the book requires a little patience at the start and it can be a tough read – but I think it pays off in the end.
It’s on sale right now for 8.99 in paperback, with art by craelligraphy. It’s 3.99 in ebook and works on every device. To read an excerpt, check here. To hear an audiobook preview of the opening chapters, check here. You can read the reviews on Amazon if you’d like other opinions as well.
Be blessed dear friend, and much love to you. – J.S.
axopia asked a question:
Let me start by saying that you’re an amazing human being. You’re so graceful and friendly and warm, sometimes I can’t believe you’re real! I feel like you’ve been my friend forever even though we’ve never spoken, it’s unbelievable. Anyway, I’ve been a Christian for about two years, and I can’t shake the feeling that I’m doing something wrong. I feel like I’m too involved with my own life and I’m not focusing nearly enough on my faith. Do you have any advice on how I can become closer with God?
My dear friend, I truly did need your encouragement today. Thank you so much for your wonderful words, which I know I don’t deserve. Truly do appreciate you.
I believe that all of us at some point will feel like I’m not doing enough or I’m doing something wrong. It’s all a part of our faith-journey. It’s part of being human. And sometimes it only means that we’re being too hard on ourselves.
Continue reading “A Relevant Faith: Connecting Abstract Belief to The Everyday”
Hello dear friends! This is an audio preview of my book Mad About God: When We Over-Spiritualize Pain and Turn Tragedy Into a Lesson, about persevering through pain and suffering.
Preface 1 – I Don’t Have It All Figured Out, and That’s Okay
Preface 2 – Perpetually Skeptical: Screaming Through The Red Sea
Preface 1 is about our crazy need to connect pain with a lesson.
Preface 2 is about the constant, uncomfortable doubts about the existence and goodness of God.
Stream here or download directly here. The book is both in paperback and ebook.
Love y’all and be blessed!
forestwater87 asked a question:
I’m really struggling to love God. I don’t feel Him, so people say to read the Bible. But when I open it, I see stories of slaughter—often of children & innocents—& God hardening people’s hearts, & I find it really hard to love Him. Why does He create people just to destroy them? Are our lives so insignificant that He can end them just to prove a point? If faith itself is a gift from God, why doesn’t He give it to everyone & not send anyone to Hell? Most important, how do I love a God like this?
Hey dear friend, thank you for your honesty and may I simply say: I totally feel you on all this. I have so much love in my heart for you right now, really. I wrestle daily with some of the tough parts of the Bible, and I’ll probably ask those questions until my time on earth is over. I wish I had a more adequate intellectual answer for you, but I’m certain I’ll fall short of explaining away some of these things. There are also so many different interpretations that I couldn’t claim to be the one who’s unlocked all the mysteries today.
Here’s an attempt to offer a jump-off point for some of your concerns.
Continue reading “I Can’t Love A God Who Would Do That”
I often have these troubling moments when I totally don’t believe in God anymore, and I wonder what it would be like to live without Him.
I was an atheist for most of my life, so these thoughts are comfortable and familiar, like the blue plaid super-hero cape I wore in third grade. I go down a spiral of binge-reading atheism blogs and I can’t stop myself. I start to wonder if God even does anything because there’s so much horror in the world, or if He’s just a construct of a hopeful mind looking for momentary relief. It can take days to pull back from this, and doubts never really fade; you just live with them.
I remember the words of that father with the demon-possessed son, who told Jesus, “I do believe, but help my unbelief!” And Jesus healed him. He didn’t shut them down. He didn’t say, “You better believe all the way first.” I get to thinking there must be more than all this, and that God did break into this fractured world somehow and began a healing at some point in history for all of eternity, an invitation to a new story, a reversal of entropy. I get to thinking we’re not just spinning alone out here, and that this is all going somewhere, and I have this tiny mustard-seed-sized faith that Jesus tells me can move mountains. I think even if this isn’t true, I so badly want it to be, and maybe that’s okay too. I do believe, and he doesn’t shame me for my unbelief. For that, I can believe Him — and for a moment, the mountains get shaken.